The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has opened an office in Fukuoka to tap into the travel markets in southern Japan’s main cities such as Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Ehime, Kochi, Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Oita, Miyazaki, Kagoshima and Okinawa.
Roongtip Wongpatikarn Kimura has been appointed director and Keng Chaivarin deputy director of the new office, located on the 11th floor, Hakata-Riverain-East-Site, Shimokawabatabashi, Hakataza Nishigin Building.
The TAT Fukuoka office will also help to promote tourism cooperation between TAT and the Kyushu Tourism Promotion Organisation as per the letter of intent signed in February to promote cooperation and increase the number of visitors between Thailand and Kyushu.
The two-year agreement covers all seven provinces of Kyushu and includes activities such as travel exchange, public relations activities and information dissemination to promote the image of Thailand among the Japanese public.
The main customer segments will include first-time visitors, special interest groups, marathon runners, golfers and divers.
The deal includes cooperation with the Japan High School Golf Association to organise fam trips for local tour operators. TAT will also focus on promoting Thailand’s secondary destinations with a stress on their history, culture, cuisine and natural resources.
Fukuoka Prefecture has the largest population on Kyushu Island. The largest city of Fukuoka is also the main business centre. Fukuoka Airport is the largest international airport in the region.
Currently, there are daily direct flights linking Bangkok and Fukuoka, and direct flights between Bangkok and Okinawa by Peach Air, as well as charter flights between Bangkok and some provinces in Kyushu and Chūgoku.
In January-October 2018, Japanese visitors to Thailand totalled nearly 1.4 million, generating an estimated 58.7 billion baht (US$1.8 billion) in tourism income.
This year, Japanese tourists to Thailand are projected to increase by 7.5 per cent to over 1.6 million, generating an estimated 73.4 billion baht in tourism income, up by nine per cent. In 2019, TAT is targeting 1.7 million Japanese visitors, generating an estimated 77.5 billion baht.